Friday, January 31, 2014

Daikanyama Lexington

I went to Daikanyama in Lexington for lunch again today since I saw a noodle duck dish that looked good on my last visit. They were not as busy today as the last time and the two top I got had moved and now the bench seat was over a joint so that wasn't very comfortable. Later single arrivals got seated at the four tops.

The exterior is very unassuming.

Duck with Udon noodles arrived in a small bowl with, count 'em, four (4) thin slices of duck! For $19 I wasn't too happy with this. The broth was OK as was the noodles. This is an expensive place, but this isn't even close to value for the money.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zaika Indian Bistro Woburn

I have been alternating my Thursday Indian lunch Buffet take out between Zaika Indian Bistro in Woburn and Bombay Club in Burlington for a while now and I really like both. Bombay Club always has tandoori chicken and you also get Papads and they have a bigger selection of dishes on the buffet. I like their goat curry but it has bones in it and the ratio of bones to meat isn't always good. Parking is way easier here as well. Zaika has an edge when it comes to taste, their dishes are way tastier even if the selection is smaller but they lose on the Naan, here Bombay Club is the clear winner. Today's choice was Zaika.

Small but tasty lunch buffet and they also have a beer and wine license. Woburn used to require 99 seats for a license, but recently changed if to 50 seats, makes sense to help the smaller restaurants.

Todays takeout consisted of a couple of Pakoras, Basmati rice, Chili Chicken (good chili kick today), Kali Mirch Ke Tikki (this is chicken marinated in yoghurt and black pepper and then cooked in the tandoori and really delicious), Saag Paneer and Okra. Naan was ordered well done but was still just barely OK. The people here couldn't be more friendly, they pack up my containers and are very eager to hear comments about the food.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thai E-sarn Cuisine Arlington

Went to Thai E-sarn Cuisine in Arlington for some Thai food for lunch today. The translation of the regional secret menu is still not done. She had some photos of the dishes, but that didn't really help. A gentleman who arrived after me also asked if the translations were available so hopefully something will happen soon.

Got my sunny window table again. Choose the salad to go with my lunch and it was nice, very fresh and an ample size. I have to figure out how to take pictures in direct sunlight, not too happy about these pictures.

Duck Choo Chee was marked as two peppers but come out at about one despite asking to make it two. The duck was nice and tender this time and the sauce was fine, but some of the veggies were a little bit overcooked, at least for me. Not a bad dish and there were enough duck to make me happy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sono Asian Cuisine Arlington

Sono Asian Cuisine in Arlington opened recently and I decided to stop by today for lunch. They are mainly Japanese and Thai with the focus on the Japanese side.

Fairly long sushi bar with leather-covered furniture. The interior is well lit and very sleek and modern.

Lunch is served with the obligatory Miso soup (just OK) and a small salad and I actually liked the dressing, not just your normal orange stuff.

This is the lunch Sushi and Sashimi Combo. 2 pieces of Tuna, Salmon and Saba (Mackerel) sashimi with Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp and Hokkiga (Surf Clam) sushi. The fish was very fresh and the rice was excellent and you actually got a schmear of wasabi underneath the fish, haven't seen that in a long time. Service was very attentive, but there was only one other customer there during lunch.

Sono Asian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 17, 2014

Daikanyama Lexington

I went to Daikanyama in Lexington for lunch today after hearing about it in a discussion about Sushi in Lexington and what a delightful little place! I never even know that they existed and they have been here for six years.

Real chopsticks and naturally, linen napkins. In addition to the menu, you also get a Nook loaded with gorgeous pictures of the sushi specials. Brilliant!

Lunch specials come with Miso soup, not bad actually, and a small salad.

Black Pork Tonkatsu from the lunch menu is really a Bento box minus the box. The crispy and perfectly cooked pork was served on a rack to make sure that the underside didn't get soggy. There is some real care here about the food. A small mound of very, very fine sliced cabbage was drizzled with some Japanese mayo. There was also a small dab of very hot mustard. The two dumplings were piping hot and the pickled veggies had a hint of heat. There was also some fruit to finish the meal off. Service was very good and I have to go back and try more items from the very extensive menu.

It's a tiny place, but they had three sushi chefs working behind the very small sushi counter and the sushi seemed to come out very quickly.

Daikanyama on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Eri's Wings & Seafood Woburn

Eri's Wings & Seafood in Woburn opened recently in a spot that has seen a multitude of eateries fail and hopefully they will do better.

Interior is nice enough with plenty of space between the tables. I managed to sit between the two tv's that was tuned to different channels so that was a bit distracting.

They feature broasted chicken and I ordered the #1 combo, two pieces of dark with one side and a soda for $5.50. It was two decent sized pieces of chicken, VERY juicy and tender but a bit on the salty side. They said that the chicken comes preseasoned. Chicken only would have been $2.99 and that's a really good deal considering the size of the chicken. My side of mashed potatoes with gravy was very bland even with the gravy. It could have done with some seasoning and a stick of butter. They have parking on the side, but I didn't notice that until I had parked and walked there. Parking on Main Street in Woburn is always tricky, so this would help.

Click to add a blog post for Eri's Wings & Seafood on Zomato

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sakura Organic Wakefield

Sakura Organic in Wakefield opened recently in the spot vacated by Sushi Island. The interior is very modern and sleek with the sushi bar in the same place but completely redone. They have a very short lunch menu, but I decided to try them anyway. Very friendly manager/owner? and he showed me around. They have a function room in the back and also free WiFi.

Very nice looking inside, two big TV's behind the sushi bar. There were two chefs working with the junior chef doing all the work..

Lunch comes with Miso soup, not a favorite of mine, and a small salad that had a nice dressing on it. I like that they put the bottle of soy sauce out so you can see what you are getting. It was, of course, organic.

I must confess to finding the menu a bit confusing. Lunch Sashimi was marked as coming with organic rice, but it was explained that it was served on the side. The other option was Sushi. Turns out that this is really Nigiri as can be seen in the picture, but it also had a Maki roll included so maybe Sushi is the correct name here. The fish was very fresh and the Maki had a good amount of tuna in the roll. I'll be back to try some more lunch dishes. How come no sushi place put wasabi underneath the fish anymore? When did that stop?

Sakura Organic on Urbanspoon

Saturday, January 11, 2014

PHU KET Wakefield

Back to PHU KET in Wakefield for some more Saturday lunch. I really like the Salmon lunch box and decided to give them another chance since on previous visits the salmon has been overcooked.

The Salmon Rad-Prik lunch box comes with Scallion. Asparagus, Red peppers and topped with crispy red onions in a spicy sauce. The good news was that this was a decent sized piece of salmon and I asked for it extra spicy and it almost made it but I would say it was at most 2 peppers. Very tender asparagus and scallions. I also remembered to ask for it pan fried and medium rare and that did the trick, moist salmon cooked as ordered.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Border Cafe Burlington

I was going to Bobby Flay's Burger Palace in the Burlington Mall but after reading so many crappy reviews I decided to go to Border Cafe in Burlington instead. The burger and fries would have run me $11+ and for that kind of money I prefer a sit-down place that offers table service and decent food.

The food here is always very consistent and the chips are made fresh and the salsa is OK. The big water-glass is a plus for me.

Catfish New Orleans is a large fresh fillet of catfish, royally seasoned, deep fried with a shrimp and basil cream sauce. One of my favorites here and this time ordered with the jambalaya. The fish was piping hot, but the jambalaya was, unfortunately, cold. The fish was cooked well, crisp on the outside, but very moist inside. Still an excellent dish, but also one of the most expensive on the menu.

Big place and it also gets very, very loud when it fills up and they are really busy at lunchtime but they have ample parking so that's never a problem. This is another reason I skipped the mall.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sichuan Garden II Woburn

I craved some standard Chinese for lunch today so I took the short drive down to Sichuan Garden II in Woburn. Pain in the butt that you cannot take a left turn from Rte 38 onto their street.

Freezing outside but nice and warm inside. Big improvement in service, now you get a carafe of ice water on the table. I think this is such an excellent idea and that every restaurant should do it. The hot and sour soup is really good here and this time I remember to ask them to hold the mains for 5 minutes so I get a chance to eat the soup, otherwise you eat three spoons and the food arrives.

The standard battered deep fried chicken, take your pick of names, here it's called General Tso's Chicken with white rice and Chicken Wings. The wings are really good, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The chicken was good, moist dark meat as it should be but maybe a bit too much batter but it were cooked well and the sauce wasn't overly sweet. I asked for it extra spicy so they threw some extra whole chilies in there but that will not really add any heat.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Taipei Gourmet Lexington

I wanted some duck for lunch and went back to Taipei Gourmet in Lexington for their Crispy Duck Rice Plate.

Crispy Duck Plate with all the trimmings. Must admit that the Bok Choy was limp and overcooked but apart from that it was really good and I finished all of the duck. The temperature outside, currently at 57F, will drop to 5F tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Lunches in 2013

There were a lot of really nice lunches in 2013 and surprisingly few not so nice.

In no particular order:

Davio'S Lynnfield.
Excellent food and atmosphere and the lunch was comped by Davio'S so that made it even better. Of course, they got a repeat customer out if it..

DooWee & Rice Somerville.
A hole in the wall restaurant serving really interesting food, but it did close later in the year. Their Hearty-Fries was memorable!

Strip-T's Watertown
Innovative food, funky interior.

Excellent lunch buffet and the buffet take-out feed me for days. Unfortunately, the restaurant was sold in late 2013.

Probably one of the most enjoyed in 2013. Excellent food and really nice staff.

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington.
New favorite Chinese/Taiwanese restaurant of 2013. Most dishes are good to excellent to bad they can not do spicy and they are sometimes stingy with the protein in the lunch dishes.

This is splurge place but very nice, unfortunately, it's being replaced in 2014.

Always very good food and affordable during restaurant week.

Outstandingly good Sushi but it closed this year. Will be sorely missed.

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe Chelmsford
Always interesting food but the new #9 was really good.

Excellent all you can eat Sushi, it was $13.95 for lunch but went up to 14.95. Still not a bad price but marginally expensive for lunch.

Excellent pho and the waitresses aren't bad either ;-)

Strega Prime Woburn.
Expensive Steakhouse but their $21 three course lunch special was worth the money.

Another new Indian restaurant in downtown Woburn serves a really nice and flavorful lunch buffet and they also let you do buffet take out.

Worst lunch was probably Tekila's Mexican Restaurant Methuen. Thinking about it, Chili's in Burlington are up there as well. It was so bad I didn't even blog about it. Hockey puck for a burger and way overcooked fries.

Looking back at this I'm surprised at how many really excellent restaurants closed in 2013.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington

Wanted chicken wings for lunch to start off the new year right and the Salt and Pepper Wings at Szechuan's Dumpling Arlington is usually excellent and I knew they would be open today.

I also ordered the Steamed Sliced Pork Belly in Garlic Sauce because I can't have enough pork belly. This is a pretty good dish but could have done with a bit more garlic. The knife skill of the chef hasn't improved since the last visit, still a bit uneven cut.

The Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings are crisp and juicy and just mildly spicy. A generous portion at the price. This was a really good start to the lunch year.